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Orkney shop owner raises £3,000 for charity after Easter egg error



For a small shop owner on a small island as far as mistakes go, Dan Dafydd’s was a pretty big one leaving him with quite a dilemma: how do you get rid of 80 cases of Easter eggs when you meant to order only 80 eggs?

For Dafydd, the owner of Sinclair General Stores on Sanday, one of the Orkney islands (population approximately 500), the 720 eggs were enough to feed everyone almost twice over. A few too many even for those with a sweet tooth.

So, in a Willy Wonka-style stroke of genius Dafydd ran a competition to let one person win 100 of the spare eggs – and all in aid of charity.

As of Thursday afternoon he has sold more than 3,500 “raffle squares” – raising more than £3,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). He has also sold all of the excess, or egg-cess, chocolate and has had to order more crates into the shop due to demand.

“We actually took a delivery of eggs yesterday because we ran out. We needed to buy more in the end. We’ve been posting eggs all over the place, people have wanted them signed and all sorts. It’s been an interesting week,” said Dafydd, after orders started coming in from far and wide.

Dan Dafydd with some of the Easter eggs he raffled off for the RNLI. Photograph: SWNS/Sinclair General Stores

And it was not just the ballot that proved a success. Nestlé, which manufactured many of the 720 eggs, is teaming up with Dafydd and the store to raise more money for the RNLI. The food production company has agreed to match donations to Dafydd’s Easter raffle up to £10,000 with the aim of helping the fundraising effort reach £20,000 by Easter Sunday.

Dafydd did not expect his innocent blunder to become such a global phenomenon: “Once word spread a bit and I was invited to talk on local radio, I thought it’s not bad enough to be a laughing stock on this island, but to be one all over Orkney.”

It was followed by news reports from all over the world, including the US and Singapore, gaining the local shop fans around the world.

“We’ve had so many letters, every morning we are getting loads of letters and donations through the post and stuff,” he said.

Dafydd said he had heard some really nice stories, including a woman whose child was in hospital with cancer who said the story had “really brightened up her day. And we’ve had lots of stories from old people who have said they’re struggling and this kind of brought a smile to their face. So yeah, it’s real nice stuff from a silly mistake.”

Beth Lucas, the marketing director for confectionery at Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: “When we saw Dan’s predicament we couldn’t resist getting involved. We are thrilled to join forces with Dan and support this fantastic initiative.

“It’s incredible to see how a simple mistake can turn into an opportunity to make a positive impact. Together, we aim to raise up to £20,000 for the RNLI and contribute to the invaluable work they do.”

However, Dafydd said that even without the attention from national and international media the eggs and raffle would have been sold on the island. He credits the community spirit and friendly ethos of the people who live there.

“There’s a group of mums on the island that run a group called the Christmas tree group; they basically dedicate all their own time to raising money by doing lunches and dinners that people go in and pay for … they would always buy eggs off us for the egg hunt and giveaway,” he said.

“But this year, because of my mishap, and before this had all gone kind of around the world, they’ve agreed to buy an extra 200.

“I think it was over 300 that went to them on the island, so I guess it shows the community spirit we have here. We would’ve sold them even without the worldwide attention but that was obviously fantastic that we got that.”

Yet Dafydd is thankful for the warm reception his mistake was met with, and thanked everyone for the support. “I think it’s amazing and the support that’s turned out to raise the amount that we have for the RNLI … with the help of Nestlé UK and Ireland we have managed to raise loads of money for [the charity]. Thank you everyone for all your support so far.”

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